[caption id="attachment_29323" align="alignnone" width="640"] New BAM President John-Luigi Megginson with Vanessa Ilsley[/caption]
On Tuesday, March 13, the British Association Monaco (BAM) held its AGM at the Maisons des Associations. After four years as President, Vanessa Ilsley has stepped down.
Highlighting some of the events that had been changed or implemented during her tenure, Vanessa, a highly respected individual in Monaco, started with the Queen’s birthday cocktails, which have progressed into a successful fundraising occasion welcoming more government ministers and ambassadors over the years. “I believe this is very important to ensure that BAM’s contribution to the Principality is understood,” Vanessa said.
Vanessa, who is also involved with Outward Bound Monaco and the Monaco Air League, as well drew attention to the Hudson Foundation, of which BAM are administrators. Mr Hudson made his money in the production of soap flakes and as a result moved to Monaco and built the Villa Paloma, which is today a national museum. His Foundation is for the benefit of English in the Principality, and for the last two years BAM has awarded financial prizes each end of year to students in the three colleges: College Charles III, Lycée Albert 1er and Lycée Hotelier.
“Less obvious to members and something I am proud of,” Vanessa added, “is the implementation of a formal association with the Princess Grace Hospital. The BAM Community Support Team visitors are now formally accredited by the hospital authorities and hold badges to enable them to visit the hospital, the Centre Rainier III and Cap Fleuri.
“This is a welcome acknowledgement of the wonderful work the Community Support Team and their helpers are doing in the community. I would like to take the opportunity to thank these quiet volunteers for all their valuable time and unstinting support. Again this development by BAM in the community underlines my efforts to highlight BAM’s stature in Monaco.”
John-Luigi Megginson, who was educated in the UK from the age of 12 but returned to Monaco where he now runs a Family Office, has taken over as President. “I have very big shoes to fill. Vanessa has done such a wonderful job and I offer my thanks for her many contributions over the years and for being a source of inspiration to me," John Luigi said at the AGM.
“I hope to continue building on the success of the previous year, to increase subscriptions and keep up the high-caliber events we have throughout the year with a view to organising more great events.”
Both Presidents acknowledge the importance of working as a team with their committees.
The British Association of Monaco, a charitable association registered in the Principality, was founded in 1935 “to provide a focus for British and Commonwealth citizens residing in Monaco and surrounding areas to meet socially, represent their views in the Principality and to provide a welfare service for those in need".
The Association, which holds no political or sectarian aim, promotes and represents the British community within the Principality. Although Full Membership is open to British and Commonwealth citizens, all nationalities are eligible for Associate Membership.
The Community Support Team made up of volunteers was originally called the Assistance Fund Sub-Committee and it was formally recorded that "as a matter of principle the Relief Fund should not be used to assist gamblers".
Article first published March 14, 2018.
Another week, another ride on the Monaco Express, as I call the BA Friday flight from London.
But this was no ordinary day. With a dense drizzly fog clinging to the ground, it had the hushed atmosphere of a Sherlock Holmes movie. Planes were grounded, passengers stranded, the BA Lounge packed. I grabbed a coffee and asked a pretty blonde if I could share her table.
We soon struck up a conversation about what we both did for a living. “Dating Industry,” I shared. “Nanny for an Oligarch in Monaco,” she said.
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“Ah, so you look after someone’s loved ones and I look after the love lives of others,” I replied.
I explained that I was an International Matchmaker. “Ooh, what’s that?”
“Well, we’re like head-hunters. We find serious partnerships for exceptional but time-poor people. This is our busiest month and, in fact, the first working Monday of the year is what lawyers dub 'Divorce Day'. We get most of our enquiries this month.”
“Really, so how does it work?" Ines, my table sharing friend, asked inquisitively.
“Well our clients pay us from £10,000 to £50,000 depending how many locations we cover for them. Clients work with a matchmaker who searches our extensive network of vetted singles, honing in on the closest matches.”
“So how successful is it – do you go to lots of weddings and christenings?”
“Well, we have an 85 percent success rate. But that’s because we turn away about a third of our enquiries and concentrate on the people that really are serious and know what they want, or can let us help them find out.
"The prospective date of the client isn’t charged – so if we ask someone to be part of our database as a potential match, it means they’re a good fit for us.”
[caption id="attachment_27345" align="alignnone" width="640"] Young Women Travel Together Concept[/caption]
It transpired that Ines the nanny was single and needed help with her online dating profile. With time on our hands, I offered help. She was using an app called Bumble, which matches like Tinder but lets the girls text first. The result is that men try harder with their “Billboard” and women get to be choosy and not constantly bombarded.
“Oh, Ines this won’t do!”
“Why not”, she asked, “men just look at pictures?”
“But your profile picture is of you straddling a giant tortoise! If you’re going to be astride anything, better make it a racehorse! And the others are just your face? You’ve got a great body, find one with all of you in it and add one with you smiling in the middle of a group of friends. We always photograph better surrounded by loved ones.
“Now let’s write something about you. Men are visual creatures, but they do read … What do you do that’s interesting? Men love sporty girls. Do you do any sport?”
“Oh, I run the marathon in Istanbul every November and love No Finish Line in Monaco – my girlfriends and I get competitive with that.”
"Well I did Politics at Gothenburg, but I’m originally from Stockholm. And I did TEFL in London where I was working in financial PR for a few years. That’s what I’m doing in Monaco, teaching twin four-year-old Russian boys English. “
“Well I spend all my free time travelling. I share the children with another nanny, so we can each have some time off. I’ve been exploring France and Italy mostly.”
“Lastly, what are you looking for in a partner?”
“Well, I’m 35 and I love children, so someone serious, not a player. He needs to love the outdoors, have a great sense of humour and good family values. Spontaneous, not stuck-in-a-rut square. Preferably blonde.”
While I was writing up Ines’ little profile for the big wide world of online dating, I had a thought. We have a Scandinavian client, Lukas, who travels like crazy and wants to meet someone with a super-flexible career, someone with great values and a solid degree. Preferably a pretty blonde. Boom.
Lukas was in Monaco for business the following month, so I struck the match and they’ve been dating ever since.
The moral of the story? A high-flyer doesn’t always want another high-flyer. For our client, it was more important to be able to find enough time for a relationship.
Barbara Brudenell-Bruce is a matchmaker with London’s exclusive matchmaking agency, Vida, and her network boasts an impressive list of entrepreneurs, celebrities and aristocrats. She lives between Monaco and London. Article first published January 16, 2017.
[caption id="attachment_29152" align="alignnone" width="905"] Photo: Plant for the Planet UNEP[/caption]
The Trillion Tree Campaign was officially launched in Monaco on Friday, March 9, at the Grimaldi Forum with the support and encouragement of Prince Albert.
Far from being a local project, the Trillion Tree Campaign, organised by the founders of Plant for the Planet and as part of the UN Environment Programme, has an ambitious target: to inspire millions of people across the world to plant trees in order to further the fight against climate change.
Originally the brainchild of 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner, a young German schoolboy worried about the future of polar bears, the notion of enlisting young people worldwide to plant huge numbers of trees quickly took root. To date, 15,205,451,679 trees have been planted thanks to the initiative.
Prince Albert was first inspired by Felix, by then age 11, who was speaking at a conference about his passion. The two were then reunited on Friday in Monaco.
Felix is now 18, as inspired today as he was in 2007, and it was an emotional moment for both when a small gift was offered by Plant-for-the-Planet to Prince Albert: an olive tree that was planted in front of the Grimaldi Forum.
A new target was set from the Principality on Friday: one trillion trees to be planted across the world as a vital part of the fight against climate change.
According to the organisation, “If each of us plants 150 trees, we will reach 1,000 billion trees worldwide. There is still enough room for that many new trees. Those trees would absorb a quarter of the man-made CO2 emissions.”
A Plant-for-the-Planet Tree Card allows you to start your tree collection and grow a forest of your own, and every month, the Plant-for-the-Planet initiative will plant at least one tree for you.
"Stop talking. Start planting", with photos of children holding their hand over the mouth of prominent community members, is a global campaign that promotes the association’s conviction that talking alone is not going to make a difference and that now is the time for action. People are encouraged to share the pictures with friends via Facebook.
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